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Scioto Downs, OHHA near agreement on slots revenue
Thursday, January 23, 2014 - by Tom LaMarra, USTA Web Newsroom Correspondent

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Columbus, OH --- Representatives of Scioto Downs Racino and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association said Thursday (Jan. 23) that they soon expect to sign an agreement that includes the percentage of video lottery terminal revenue that goes to purses.

The two parties told the Ohio State Racing Commission the only unresolved issue involves stall rent, but it’s expected the language will be hammered out soon.

“We’re in agreement on all the economic terms,” OHHA president Steve McCoy said. “If we can work out (the stall rent) language, we’ll have a totally done deal.”

The agreed-upon VLT percentage wasn’t discussed. Racing industry officials said they expect the numbers will become a matter of public record when the agreements are presented to the OSRC, a public agency.

In the absence of a deal, the statutory minimum of nine percent has been escrowed at Scioto Downs the past two seasons, though purses have increased substantially. The maximum permitted under a 2012 clean-up law is 11 percent.

Under a 2013 statute the tracks are required to have a VLT deal with horsemen within six months of the start of VLT operations. That means Miami Valley and Northfield Park will have to do so this summer; while Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is scheduled to open this fall and will have until early 2015.

Meanwhile, Miami Valley Gaming & Racing was granted a racing permit with conditions; the track’s inaugural live meet is scheduled to begin Feb. 7.

The OSRC had previously expressed concerns over grandstand seating, the absence of pari-mutuel clerks, and food and beverage for racing customers. Miami Valley president and general manager Jim Simms told the commission the seating requirements have been met.

“We’ll be there to audit that,” OSRC chairman Robert Schmitz said.

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